Silent Hill: Downpour is a survival horror game played from the over-the-shoulder, third-person perspective, in which the player controls Murphy Pendleton, an escaped convict, as he navigates the titular supernatural town. While the extent to which the game is an open-world environment is debated, Downpour allows for more environmental exploration than previous installments in the series. While Murphy explores the town on foot, he can use the abandoned subway tunnels as a short-cut to various parts of the town. At times, Murphy will need to directly interact with the environment to progress, pulling down fire escapes with hooks or destroying boarded-up doors, for example. Parts of his backstory can be learned from in-game notes and flashbacks; secret messages can be uncovered through the use of a UV flashlight, while clues and maps are stored in his journal to access freely. The player also can shape Murphy's character through several moral choices presented throughout the game, by allowing him to either act on or refuse opportunities to save non-player characters.